KALISPELL – The final day at the Montana-Alberta American Legion Baseball Class AA state tournament took place on Wednesday, and the Billings Royals earned a thrilling win in the championship to advance to next week’s regional tournament.
LETHBRIDGE ELKS VS. BILLINGS SCARLETS
In the semifinal, it was the Billings Scarlets versus the Lethbridge Elks, with the winner advancing to the championship against the Royals. The Elks came out hot, scoring seven runs in the first three innings, led by a big RBI triple from Lukas Ankermann.
The Scarlets battled back, though, scoring five runs in the fourth inning, all coming on RBI singles from Ben Tallman, Koby Croft, Dillon Quast, Max Egan and Andy Larsen. But the Elks exploded for 12 runs combined in the fifth and sixth to win big, 19-7.
BILLINGS ROYALS VS. LETHBRIDGE ELKS
The Elks who came out swinging in the championship, scoring five runs in the first inning, capped by a long two-run home run from Torrin Vaselenak.
However, the Royals scored four in the first inning and one in the fourth on a home run from Jordan Kay to tie the game up. Neither team scored another run until the seventh inning when the Royals got a runner to third. Jarret Leinwand played the hero as he walked it off for the state title with an RBI single up the middle. The Royals, who entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed, get the 6-5 win and advance to the regional tournament.
The Northwest Regional Tournament, which features teams from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, is Aug. 8-12 at Missoula.